I grew up being taught that the Lord’s Prayer was irrelevant to the lives of contemporary Christians because the Kingdom, for which Jesus prays, was now present in the church. Why pray for something that already exists? Right?
So much of my life I missed out on the benefits of living inside the world of Jesus’ concerns and requests of God. It wasn’t until the last several years that the Prayer became a daily part of my life.
The most centering part of the prayer, for me, has been its request for God’s kingdom to come to earth. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In that request are two ideas. The first was that God’s will is not currently being done on earth. As long as injustice, unrighteous, and suffering of all sorts exists on the earth, God is not pleased.
The second idea is that God is interested in and concerned about the earth – not as a disposable commodity but rather one which God intends to redeem. Jesus said as much when he said that if he “cast out demons by the spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come to you,” Matthew 12:28.
Praying the Lord’s Prayer made me think about the ways in which I should also be concerned about same issues and concerns as Jesus. When asked by John the Baptist’s followers if he was the one for whom the Jews had been waiting he replied, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them, Matthew 11:5. What Jesus was concerned about was evident in that in which he invested his life.
The net result of praying the Prayer is, I believe, that people are changed from being consumers to being activists – jumping headlong into the concerns and struggles of the God-loved people all around them. The idea of accumulating wealth and privilege without sharing it is antithetical to the calling of Jesus.
“….the poor have good news brought to them.” Consuming, accumulating, and self-aggrandizing are not good news to those without.
In Jesus’ world the Selfie melts into a reality that is identified by its tears for the world’s suffering and a towel, taken up to serve the hurting world. It’s that’s for which Jesus prayed.